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British Library confirms RSHP as winner of £1bn extension contest

British library aerial shot photo by tony antoniou.1
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As the AJ exclusively revealed two months ago, the British Library has appointed Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for a £1 billion addition to its iconic central London home

The practice is part of a team led by Stanhope selected for the prestigious development on land north of the Grade I-listed library next to PLP and HOK’s new Francis Crick Institute.

Eric Parry Architects and Make featured on rival developer-led consortia shortlisted for the estimated £1 billion project, which is planned to complete by 2023 – in time for the library’s 50th anniversary.

British Library chief executive Roly Keating said: ‘We are delighted to have secured such high-calibre partners to help realise our vision of the British Library’s London campus as a truly open, creative centre for knowledge.

‘Sir Colin St John Wilson’s Grade-I listed building was one of the great public projects of the last century, and this new partnership will help us to preserve and respect its unique character while creating much-needed extra space both for our growing public audiences and the dynamic research communities in London’s Knowledge Quarter.’

David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope, added: ‘This project is unique in its vision to link the British Library and the Francis Crick Institute with an enhanced Alan Turing Institute, knowledge and commercial organisations and additional library facilities. In partnership with the British Library, we look forward to engaging with all of the key stakeholders to realise that vision.’

Dubbed ‘Building the Future’ the 9,300m² library expansion will create new gallery spaces, events spaces, a public entrance on Midland Road and a headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute. A new science hub with about 65,000m² of commercial development space for third party organisations will also be delivered.

British Library drawing

British Library drawing

British Library drawing by Colin St John Wilson c1991

The library expansion follows the success of the library’s exhibitions programme and a massive growth in reader numbers, which has seen public areas oversubscribed. Interviews to select a commercial operator and architect for the deal to lease, design, build and operate the new wing were held last year.

Designed by Colin St John Wilson and MJ Long, the landmark building on Euston Road was awarded the highest level of statutory listing one year ago.

Secretary of state for culture, media and sport Karen Bradley said: ‘The British Library is one of our finest cultural institutions, housing an unparalleled collection of knowledge.

‘This innovative project will increase access to the Library’s first-class collections, providing new exhibition spaces, learning opportunities and facilities for visitors from Britain and around the world to enjoy. It is a significant commitment to digital research and data science, and I am pleased the expansion will provide a bespoke headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute.’

London

London

British Library expansion project site

Deputy mayor for business, Greater London Authority, Rajesh Agrawal, said: ‘This is another exciting development for London’s flourishing Knowledge Quarter, our world-leading life sciences sector and our rapidly growing reputation for data science. It is a huge vote of confidence in the capital post-Brexit. London is one of the greatest scientific cities on the planet. We are internationally renowned as a bastion of research and innovation and one of the most attractive places in the world for life and data science companies to do business.

‘This new investment, just a stone’s throw from the Francis Crick Institute is another huge boost to London’s role as a global capital of science and innovation. As well as leading to world-changing discoveries, products and services it will deliver new jobs and demonstrate that London is Open to the world’s greatest scientific minds.’

A development agreement between the British Library and Stanhope will be finalised this summer with the design and planning process expected to run over the following 18 months.

Ground floor plan british library

View drawings, plans and data of the British Library in the AJ Buildings Library 

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